Couple murdered over free-will marriage

RAWALPINDI: A shocking incident un-folded in the jurisdiction of the Airport police station as a married couple was murdered in cold blood for marrying against family will. According to a spokesperson for the police, Hasnain Raza, brother of the deceased Ali Raza, revealed that his thirty-eight-year-old brother had tied the knot with his sister-in-law, Iman, approximately a year and a half ago. This marked All Raza’s second marriage, with his first union taking place around twelve years earlier. At the time of the horrific incident, Ali Raza had been residing with his first wife, while his second wife, Iman, shared a home with him and his uncle in a private housing society in Dhoke Ratta. The tragic turn of events began when Iman’s mother, Saima, informed the complainant’s uncle that both All Raza and Iman had been shot and were en route to the hospital. Upon arriving at the hospital, they found the victims in the hospital’s morgue with their bodies marred by violence. The complainant said that his sister-in-law’s uncle, Jameel, and his brother, Tabish, are responsible for this heinous act because All Raza and Iman chose to marry of their own free will.

SALEH MUGHAL

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Poor policing : Cyber crime in Punjab increased manifold in past quinquennial

Province seeing drastic upsurge in incidents of online fraud, data theft, social media stalking, online harassment.

LAHORE: As access to cell phones, computers, and most importantly the internet has increased in the country in the past decade, an unprecedented upsurge in cyber crimes has been witnessed in Pakistan’s most populated province.

Punjab, which is home to more than half the country’s headcount as per the digital census of 2023, also accounts for the most crimes in the country; and a significant number of these crimes are now cyber in nature.

In the last 5 years alone, there have been thousands of reports of online fraud, cyber stalking, hate speech, and theft of government data coming out of the province. And data obtained by The Express Tribune from the country’s apex investigation agency, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), highlight the rising trend of cyber crime in the province.

As per the records, the most reported cases of cyber crime in Punjab, during the past 5 years, are of financial and electronic fraud, with a rate of 15 to 19 cases per day.A breakdown of the number of such incidents from 2018 to August of 2023 shows that a total of 31,930 incidents were reported in five years: 657 in 2018, 2,005 in 2019, 7,055 in 2020, 9,818 in 2021, 9,492 in 2022, and 10,000 reported until August of 2023. The second highest reported cases in the same time period were that of theft of public and private data, with 19,749 total incidents up until August.

1,514 of these were reported in 2018, 2,952 in 2019, 7,499 in 2020, 4,590 in 2021, 3,944 in 2022, and 2,960 cases so far this year. In third place: social media stalking, with a total of 19,551 incidents until August of this year, translating into 12 per day. 535 of these were reported in 2018, 1,972 in 2019, 5,008 in 2020, 7,754 in 2021, 6,746 in 2022, and 5,000 have been reported so far in 2023. Cyber harassment and defamation cases stand in fourth place, with 2,957 incidents reported from 2018 to August of 2023.

Out of these 108 were reported in 2018, 430 in 2019, 1,030 in 2020, 1,090 in 2021, 1,160 in 2022, and 2,000 incidents have been reported up until August of this year. Former director general (DG) of the FIA, Khadim Hussain Bhatti, when asked about the drastic upsurge in cyber crime, told The Express Tribune that methods of perpetuating crime have evolved with the advent of technology. “Part of the reason why crimes of such nature have increased is because the common man is not aware of the intricacies of the internet; hence he falls prey to fraudsters,” explained Bhatti, further adding that the government has not done much to educate the public about the type of cyber crimes.

“The best place to start educating the public about the harms of the internet would be to include it in the educational curriculum,” the former DG suggested. Director for the FIA’s cyber crime wing in Punjab, Jahanzeb Nazir, concurring with Bhatti, said that the FIA is now looking into organising lectures on cyber crime in schools and colleges to create awareness. “We are aware of the rise in cyber crime and therefore have recruited more manpower to tackle the issue seriously. We are also trying to process complaints faster than ever and will be able to curb the menace soon,” assured Nazir while talking to The Express Tribune.

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Newborn’s remains, two bodies found

Victim tortured, dumped in water.

DIJKOT: The dead bodies of three people, including a newborn baby, were found by police and taken into custody. The bodies were shifted to the hospital and police started searching for their heirs.

According to details, the body of an unidentified 40-year-old man was found floating in the water with marks of torture.

Preliminary investigation suggests that the victim was tortured to death by unknown suspects and dumped in the water. Police shifted the body to hospital for a post-mortem and started searching for the deceased’s relatives.

In another incident, an unidentified woman, after giving birth to a baby girl, put her in a shopping bag and dumped her near a hotel located near Millat Chowk.

After spotting the body of the newborn, passers-by reported it on the 15 helpline.

Sargodha Road Police reached the scene and took possession of the body, shifting it to the Allied Hospital mortuary unit. Authorities have started searching for the unidentified woman.

Meanwhile, bystanders reported the dead body of a 40-year-old man near Chohar Majra Jamia Qasmiya.

Police shifted the body to the hospital and started searching for the victim’s heirs.

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Assault bid foiled; suspect arrested

LAHORE: Safe City 15 Centre apprehended a suspect on charge of attempting to molest a child. A call reporting an assault attempt on a six-year-old child was received from Chungi the Amar Sadhu area. The caller informed that the suspect attempted to molest his younger brother. Police, responding to the call, reached the spot and arrested the 37-year-old suspect.

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Daughter-in-law turns out to be killer of elderly woman

MUZAFFARGARH: The police solved the murder case of an elderly woman who was brutally killed and her body was discarded in a field.

The alleged murderer, her daughter-in-law, was arrested in connection with the murder incident of the elderly woman in the Qasba Gujrat area of Muzaffargarh.

Investigation Superintendent of Police Haseeb Javed told a press conference at the police office on Friday, the Gujarat police received information on Oct 19 about the discovery of the body of Amiran Mai in a sugarcane field, with injuries to the back of her head. The police responded to the scene, where evidence was collected with the assistance of forensic teams.

A murder case was registered and the police interrogated several locals and the investigation led them to the victim`s house.

Daughter-in-law Nasim Mai became a focus of the investigation when the police found discrepancies in her statements and could not provide satisfactory answers to their inquiries.

The suspect confessed to the crime, saying that her mother-in-law used to quarrel with her and had a dispute with her three days before the murder. The elderly woman was attacked from behind with a stick and strangled. The police also recovered the murder weapon from the suspect.

Correspondent

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Transgender person killed in Peshawar

PESHAWAR: A transgender person was stabbed to death in the jurisdiction of Faqeerabad police station here on Friday, officials said.

They said Tahir alias Ghazal, a resident of Tehkal area on outskirts of the provincial capital, was at her room when she was attacked. She died on the spot.

A statement issued by the city police said officials visited the crime scene to collect evidence. The body was later sent to hospital for autopsy.

SP Faqeerabad Syed Talal Ahmad Shah assured the transgender community of arresting the persons involved in the killing.

The statement said the cause of the killing was yet to be confirmed.

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Couple murdered for honour: police

RAWALPINDI: A man and his wife were murdered in the name of honour after they got love marriage, police said on Friday, police said.

Hasnain Raza, a resident of Dhoke Ratta, complained to the Airport police that his brother Ali Raza, 38, got a second marriage with Iman 18 months ago and the couple had a son.

He said Ali got his first marriage with Mehwish and they had three daughters. He was living with his first wife and had arranged a separate rented house in Bahria Town for his second wife.

He said in the FIR that he was at his Dhoke Ratta home on Wednesday night when Ms Saima, mother of Iman, called and told him that Ali and Iman had been shot and injured and were shifted to a hospital in Bahria Town.

He said when he and his relatives reached the hospital in Bahria Town they were told that the injured had been shifted to the District Headquarters Hospital (DHQ). On reaching the DHQ hospital, he found his brother and his wife dead.

He suspected that his brother and his wife were murdered by her uncle and brother over her love marriage. The police have registered a murder case and launched an investigation.

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Improving access to justice

The Lahore High Court’s recent decision to move more cases to its Rawalpindi and Multan benches is a welcome effort to increase the ease of access to justice for millions of residents of Punjab who earlier had to travel for as much as six or seven hours from Mianwali and Bhakkar, respectively, to get to the court’s principal seat in Lahore. The burden was even greater on poor litigants, whose choice was to either travel for essentially a whole day to get to and from the principal seat and their hometowns, or arrange to spend the night in Lahore. Reducing travel time allows most litigants to make round trips from most areas in less than half a day, meaning they could probably travel in both directions on the same day without significant hardship.

High courts should actively examine ways to make it easier for litigants to approach the court by assigning districts to the nearest registries to districts based on ease of travel. In many cases, including those of Mianwali and Bhakkar, improvements in road infrastructure have made the old jurisdiction maps outdated. Khushab, for example, is also slightly closer to Rawalpindi than Lahore, and some such cases also occur in other provinces. The court administrations should also examine previous proposals to open a few new benches. A previous rejected proposal from lawyers called for four new LHC benches. Not only was this a bit much, but three of the districts would probably not significantly improve ease of access for citizens outside of the districts themselves. But the province could certainly do with at least one new bench in the fourth suggestion, Faisalabad, which is a large city in its own right and is ideally located to improve access from central Punjab districts that are relatively far from both Rawalpindi and Lahore.

While it is also important to avoid unnecessarily burdening the exchequer with new benches if they cannot absorb a justifiable caseload, all of the provincial high courts, but especially Balochistan, would benefit from adding one new bench each.

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Born in Pakistan

AS part of a global research project on forced migration, I was able to listen closely to the stories of children who had perhaps one, perhaps two parents of Afghan origin, and whose only memories were of life in Pakistan. The most powerful, common motif reverberating through their experiences was: `I was born here`.

In September 2023, an announcement was made giving undocumented families and individuals of Afghan origin a deadline of Nov 1 to exit the country. This impacts an estimated 1.7 million people, and includes communities that have experienced protracted displacement since the 1980s. For many, a second and often a third generation of children has grown up in Pakistan.

However, without pathways to citizenship, their position has remained insecure even for registered refugees, Proof of Registration (PoR) or Afghan Citizen cards have been subject to renewal after a certain time period.

What, then, is identity? If identity is a document, then it could be a valuable key opening doors to education, livelihoods, the dream of a future different from that of an uprooted generation. The POR or Afghan Citizen card fit into some doors, enabling bright-eyed young people to enter formal schools and build, brick by brick, those imagined futures. But identity as a document can be a vanishing key, as many now fear deportation in the second phase of the plan as currently shared.

The fear of repatriation was one reason why some of the most vulnerable communities often in informal, urban contexts chose to remain invisible, even if that meant giving up even the most basic rights. There was nothing promised to them, yet they fought to stay moving multiple times, even from the rubble of bulldozed settlements. Perhaps, then, identity is more than a piece of paper, and has something to do with homes built and rebuilt, relationships forged, childrenborn and raised.

They were born here. When embracing friends, saying goodbye, tearing up at the border while facing uncertainty ahead, a voice somewhere whispers: they belong here.In a parallel reality, children born in Pakistan would have had access to the same kind of birthright citizenship, according to the 1951 Citizenship Act, as those who came as refugees to the country in 1947. They would be able to open bank accounts, own property, enrol in schools with the confidence that comes from a secure national identity. In this alternative vision, they would have the responsibilities that come with citizenship rights, part of a social contract and contributing to a shared and harmonious future.

But our reality is less than utopian, with a crippling economic crisis and worsening security conditions driving both public and policy reac-tions. One question is whether the sudden exodus of Afghan communities will truly impact, for the better, the fuel prices having a paralytic effect on families in Pakistan or the rising threat of violence from angered Taliban neighbours.

For the children and families now being sent toholding centres or across the border,the signs are pointing to a humanitarian and `human rights catastrophe`, according to the UNHCR, the UN refugee agency. It will be the latest wave of disruption and displacement, this time to a barely post-war pariah country with little international support, and few or no remaining personal networks to moor them. The likely scenario will be the setting up of yet more camps during a harsh winter, with little time to prepare for their arrival and basic survival in terms of food and shelter, let alone livelihoods and education. The journey itself is fraught with physical protection risks for women and children, who are ever the most vulnerable in a crisis. Once there, unlessthere are provisions for protection, sanitation and hygiene in camp conditions, there will once more not only be risks in terms of disease but also physical and sexual violence.

They were refugees here. And if they go `back` to Afghanistan in this way, they will be refugees there. In the medium term, there are big question marks surrounding livelihoods and education, and whether Afghanistan has the capacity to absorb such a large number of people. For children, sudden and involuntary migration can have a deeply traumatic impact for which there are unlikely to be psychosocial support mechanisms, or the provision of safe and child-friendly spaces that can provide stability. In fact, there is a high likelihood of families relying on negative coping strategies such as early marriage and child labour to survive. Girls are expressing terror at the prospect oflosingtheir chance to go to school, in the only country where female education is banned.

As of Nov 5, an estimated 128,000 people have left via Torkham. While this is a fraction of the intended numbers, there are reports of minors being separated from caregivers, and of Pakistani Pakhtun minors being mistakenly sent across the border. If anything, all this indicates that an undertaking of this magnitude needs more time, careful planning and communication across stakeholders including governments, UN agencies, civil society and individuals at risk to ensure that any return is truly what we as a country have for decades promised it will be: voluntary, safe and dignified.

Identity is a tangled mesh of past and present.

For third-generation children, growing up in a `host` country means their identities are informed by transmitted memories and culture but also very much by their lives and experiences in the only home they have known. We owe it to them to consider them, their protection and rights in any next steps, so they can say with pride that they were born in Pakistan. • The writer is the founder of a children`s non-profit.

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Environmental laws

Environmental laws codify our right to kill. They sanctify our mechanical and chemical warfare against systems that sustain life. They enable the undoing of the formation of a unique and irreplaceable living world. Hundreds of millions of years of evolution can be spoiled in the time it takes to print a pile of paper.

Enabled by laws, businesses impose cattle ranching on public lands. They stamp out savannahs and woodlands for feed crops. They’re still drilling sensitive ecosystems for oil and gas; they’re still exploding mountains for coal. They’re wrecking sacred places, even mining the ocean floor, seeking metals and minerals for electric vehicle components. Roads proliferate. Drivers come and go, spreading fumes, rubber, microplastics, and oil as they move.

The Endangered Species Act nods begrudgingly to nonprofits that scrimp and save up for their last-minute flurries of activity, usually to save a single species, and sometimes after the fact. Intermittent pauses in the human plundering project take years to apply, case by case. In contrast, billions of dollars for murderous, ecocidal wars and occupations are fast-tracked and shepherded behind the political scenes.

And we compound our going-forth and our multiplication through the purpose-breeding of other animals. And in our sprawling cities, towns, and animal husbandry operations, we create a standard of living that’s well beyond our due. Some scientists call this overshoot. Some politicians have noticed it, too, but they are considered outliers by the self-styled masters of the political world.

As for humanity as a whole, our exploitive treatment of nonhuman life is suffocating oceans, damaging atmospheric systems, and driving an extinction crisis. Two of every five known amphibian communities are at risk of disappearing forever. We’re trafficking bees at staggering rates in international commerce, yet neglecting indigenous bees at the brink of collapse. There’s an urgent need for political work that moves our energies and our subsidies from animal agribusiness to animal-respecting agriculture. In other words, to support systems based on growing food – not grazing, not feed. Can nonhuman rights make environmental law more powerful? Could nonhuman rights – not based on iconic species but rather for interconnected, untamed communities – bring about a humanity that could ever hope to honestly call itself sustainable? That is the question.

To be meaningful, nonhuman rights must be culture-shifting. But legal rights operate within human-created systems – infusing nonhuman rights with an inherent contradiction. The idea of animal liberation has deeper, broader potential, as animal liberation is a challenge to human supremacy. Liberation suggests we stop confining, tormenting, and purpose-breeding others.

Excerpted: ‘Environmental Law Is Losing the Plot. What Now?’ Courtesy: Counterpunch.org

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